Category Archives: Say It Like You Mean It

Say It Like You Mean It: The Impact Wrestling Preview, 12/12

Like every other wrestling company, TNA creates a weekly preview of its flagship show, Impact Wrestling. And, like every other wrestling company, they don’t always tell the truth when hyping their product. Thankfully, Dave is here to try to figure what TNA is trying to say, and tell you what he thinks, so you don’t have to do either.

TNA Says:

The annual “Feast Or Fired” match returns to IMPACT on Thursday night – featuring Samoa Joe, James Storm, Mr. Anderson, Gunner, Chavo Guerrero, Zema Ion and more superstars! Four briefcases will hang in the ring – three will contain shots at TNA World Titles, while the fourth will cost one unlucky superstar their spot on the TNA roster! Who will earn title shots – and who will be FIRED?! Don’t miss the Feast Or Fired match this Thursday on SpikeTV!

What This Probably Should Mean: Samoa Joe wins the World Title shot, reasserting himself as a true main event player. Zema Ion gets the X Division Title shot, receiving an opportunity to put his new DJ character in the ring. Either Gunner or Storm wins the Tag Team Title shot, adding additional drama to what feels like a slow burn breakup, and Chavo Guerrero gets fired.

What This Probably Shouldn’t Mean: Chavo Guerrero gets anything good.

Dave Thinks: This match is interesting (and sad) in that it features six wrestlers that have been utterly misused and incorrectly pushed over the last year. Mr. Anderson seems like the hottest character by far going into this match, given the success of the Aces & Eights funeral segment he led, but he doesn’t feel like a good choice to be TNA’s version of “Mr. Money in the Bank” (remember how that worked out in the WWE?).

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TNA Says:

Who will be the next TNA World Heavyweight Champion? The Finals of the World Title Tournament is set for December 19 during “Final Resolution” on SpikeTV as Jeff Hardy will battle Magnus to crown the new titleholder! Tune into Thursday’s IMPACT for the latest on Hardy and Magnus as they prepare for their showdown for the gold!

What This Should Mean: Individual promos from both men throughout the show followed by a man-to-man, show-closing faceoff between the two. Magnus asserts himself as a clear heel to oppose the super-over Hardy, but does so verbally without the two men touching.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: TNA doesn’t use a healthy chunk of their valuable TV time (at least thirty minutes combined) to hype the match that will effectively redefine TNA’s identity heading into 2014.

Dave Thinks: It’s a great move by TNA to take a week off from the title tournament to hype the final. With that said, if they don’t make good use of this show promotionally to build that match as something really special, well then they might as well have not produced a show for this week at all.

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TNA Says:

Speaking of the World Title, this past week AJ Styles told TNA President Dixie Carter that if she wanted the belt, she would have to come to his home in Georgia to get it! How far will Carter go to get back her intellectual property? Tune in and find out on Thursday night!

What This Should Mean: A blend of actually-funny comedy from Rockstar Spud and dead-serious intensity from A.J. Styles. Styles refuses to give Dixie the belt back, but instead offers to defend it against the winner of the ongoing TNA title tournament.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Four segments worth of Dixie Carter’s terrible, self-congratulatory acting.

Dave Thinks: TNA deserves a lot of credit for building up a huge title match (Hardy vs. Magnus) while also hinting at the next huge title match (New Champ vs. A.J. Styles) and the huge title match after that (New Champ vs. Feast or Fired Winner). Unfortunately, all this strong long-term booking will still result in me being a sad panda if A.J. is one and done with TNA in 2014.

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TNA Says:

Also on Thursday: The X Division Championship will be on the line as Chris Sabin will defend against Austin Aries, plus who will step up to battle TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim in her ongoing open challenge?

What This Should Mean: Aries and Sabin have a long, strong match that reestablishes the prestige of the X Division Title. Sabin goes over with a pull of the trunks or his feet on the ropes to continue his development as a heel. Gail Kim’s next opponent continues the upward trend in quality.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: A short match that ends with Velvet Sky distracting Aries while Sabin gets a quick, cheap win. Gail Kim’s next opponent does not continue the upward trend in quality.

Dave Thinks: TNA is at its worst promotionally when they’re lumping the X Division and the Knockouts together like this. It’s basically an indicator that the creative team is only interested in the top one or two storylines and everything else is a desperate attempt to fill out a card.

Final Thoughts

This show will be a good indicator as to whether the new, post-Hogan/Bischoff braintrust in TNA has any idea how to tell compelling stories. Feast or Fired should provide some insight into who will be pushed in the early months of 2014, while the Hardy/Magnus build will demonstrate whether TNA has learned how to make their televised “super Impacts” seem any more like pay per views than they did in 2013.

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Say It Like You Mean It: The Impact Preview, 12/5

Like every other wrestling company, TNA creates a weekly preview of its flagship show, Impact Wrestling. And, like every other wrestling company, they don’t always tell the truth when hyping their product. Thankfully, Dave is here to try to figure what TNA is trying to say, and tell you what he thinks, so you don’t have to do either.

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TNA Says:

Next Thursday, it will be the Semi-Finals of the ongoing World Heavyweight Championship tournament, with the two winners advancing to the FINALS to crown a new titleholder! The Final Four are set, and one of these four superstars will become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Kurt Angle or Magnus!

WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL

Tables Match

Jeff Hardy vs. Bobby Roode

WORLD TITLE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL

Last Man Standing Match

Kurt Angle vs. Magnus

What This Probably Should Mean: Three of the most talented, over wrestlers in the TNA and the company’s rising star put together two strong wrestling matches. Hardy and Roode bump all over the place for each other, with Hardy eventually getting the win on one of his signature big spots to cement his return to the main event. Magnus and Angle work a long, physical match that puts over the toughness and desire of both men. Magnus gets the win, dropping Kurt Angle with his Michinoku Driver for the clean pin.

What This Probably Shouldn’t Mean: These matches are rushed at ten minutes each so the crowd can be treated to more time with Joseph Park and Dixie Carter. Both matches have B.S. injury finishes, with Hardy crashing and burning when he flies too close to the sun setting up the crowd-thrillingest spot of all time and Angle slipping on a banana peel and “injuring his neck” again.

Dave Thinks: While there’s always the loud (and often correct) contingent of TNA fans who ask “Where the hell is Samoa Joe?” TNA has brought this title tournament down to as good a final four as they can muster. Angle is a massive star who, in spite of his recent troubles, is still over like crazy and would make a credible champion at any time. Roode is the most underrated main eventer currently on TV, and would also make a great champion, as he seems at the height of his powers in the ring. Jeff Hardy is one of the most over babyfaces of the last fifteen years and, when he feels like it, can have a great match with a sack of potatoes. Magnus is a terrific wild card, as he is young and fresh, albeit unproven. TNA has made more booking mistakes than you can shake a stick at, but they’ve done well with this tournament.

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TNA Says:

Christopher Daniels and Kazarian have informed TNA officials that they plan to EXPOSE Joseph Park once and for all on Thursday night! According to Daniels and Kazarian, they took a road trip this week to find out the truth about Park – and came back with evidence that could destroy him! What will Daniels and Kazarian reveal about Park this Thursday? Tune in and find out!

What This Should Mean: This should mean that Joseph Park is successfully “EXPOSE[d],” turns back into Abyss permanently, and returns to kicking ass unapologetically. Daniels and Kaz bump like wild men, displaying for everyone that Abyss is back and ready to become a tank.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Take 27 of the following sequence:

“I’m not Abyss!”

“Yes, you are!”

“No, I’m not!”

**Sloppy brawl in which Park gets busted open**

“Rawr!”

**Park Black Hole Slams Kaz and Daniels, then just stands there looking at himself, befuddled**

Dave Thinks: You know when the police put down those spike strips that pop the getaway car’s tires, but the crooks keep trying to drive away on the rims in a shower of sparks until the wheels are so hopelessly bent that they can’t move anymore? Joseph Park is that car.

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TNA Says:

In addition on IMPACT, World Tag Team Champions The Bro Mans will battle the former titleholders James Storm and Gunner

What This Should Mean: Gunner and Storm both take turns looking strong against The Bro Mans, who stall and beg off like cowardly heels. Ultimately, DJ Zema Ion creates some kind of distraction that leads to Robbie rolling up Gunner for the win. Storm looks frustrated, but ultimately consoles Gunner after the match.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: An unbelievably lightning quick victory for the heels that makes Storm and Gunner both look like (1) weaklings and (2) idiots. Gunner and Storm immediately start doing the back-and-forth-shoving tag team breakup thing, culminating in Storm knocking Gunner to the ground and storming (Ha! Get it?) out of the ring.

Dave Thinks: This feud would actually make sense: The Bro Mans are goofy 2013 Honky Tonk Men and GunStorm are no-nonsense, ass-kicking babyfaces. The only problem? It’s hard to see this match being much more than a chapter in the GunStorm breakup angle. If this was happening before Gunner threw in the towel for Storm, I’d be excited about the prospect of these two teams mixing it up, but as it stands, I’m already cringing, waiting for the miscommunication spot that leads to Storm jobbing and glaring at Gunner.

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TNA Says:

Plus, TNA Knockout Champion Gail Kim’s Open Challenge continues – is there anyone that can step up to beat the Women’s World Champion?

What This Should Mean: Kim faces a challenger from the indy circuit who can have a smoother match than her previous opponents have given her. Kim actually shines the babyface and looks to be in danger for a minute before cutting her opponent off, hitting her finisher, and retaining.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Kim squashes her opponent in 30 seconds, then Lei’D Tapa comes into the ring and beats the girl down more. They pose. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Dave Thinks: Gail Kim’s open challenge gimmick has officially run up against the rule of threes with this match. Kim’s a great worker and a tremendous champion, but by the end of January, 2014, there needs to be an actual Knockouts Division for her to defend against. Fresh faces are great, but if you don’t have an established base of talent, “fresh face” just starts to look like “next warm body through the revolving door.”

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TNA Says:

Ethan Carter III (aka EC3) is going to challenge a Legend!

What This Should Mean: EC3 calls out a returning TNA star — let’s say Jimmy Yang (one of the interesting/funny things about Impact being back in Florida is it’s actually feasible that random wrestler could show up at a moment’s notice). Yang, or whoever, gets in a crowd-pleasing spot or two against Carter, but ultimate takes EC3’s headlock driver and the clean pin in the middle of the ring.

What This Shouldn’t Mean: Wow, I could rattle off a pretty damning roll call of D-list wrestling “legends” if I wanted to… but I’ll go with Koko B. Ware on this one. EC3 should not wrestle Koko B. Ware

Dave Thinks: It was a good (albeit belated) move last week for EC3 to go over a real jobber in Shark Boy and not a comedically jobbery jobber. It feels like whoever is behind this angle feels like they’re being “old school” in the way they build up EC3, but the fact that he hasn’t even glared at a serious babyface is officially starting to catch up with him. He officially needs a breakthrough, over match against an established TNA babyface — Eric Young sounds like the perfect opponent.

Final Thoughts

This show looks frustrating on paper because what TNA’s presenting is utterly schizophrenic. On one hand, we have two serious match-ups between some of the company’s top stars, but on the other, we’re presented with Joseph Park and The Bro Mans. As long as they try to play the WWE’s comedy sketch game, TNA will continue to struggle. If they don’t embrace the fact that the million or so people who actually tune in every week are hardcore wrestling fans (as in serious, not trash can lids and barbed wire) who want to see in-ring action, they’ll never rise above the level of second-rate ripoff artists.